Fertilizing your fruit and oak trees

Written by Big Game Camera Man on Thursday, June 20, 2013

Here's a great tip for you early-season bowhunters--something that can be tried on public or private land.

Many experienced early-season hunters keep in mind the need to find an excellent food source.  That's where most of the deer traffic will be.

In late Summer or early Fall, apple, crabapple and other fruit trees produce fruit loaded with sugar and starch--a tasty treat for all whitetails.   White oaks, red oaks and beechnut trees all produce acorns or nuts--in some years they produce massive quantities of these deer-favored foods.  Even in lean years, the deer seek out these trees, and so should you as a whitetail hunter.

It's possible to tweak this natural system to your advantage, if you think ahead.  Late Winter to early Spring is the perfect time to fertilize fruit- or nut-bearing trees that you plan to hunt near the following Fall.  A properly done,  once-a-year application of a 10-6-4, slow-release fertilizer (XCU or SCU should be printed on the bag) will sweeten-up a tree's fruit, acorns or nuts to the point where deer will leave other trees and neighboring properties to come to  your sweet smorgasbord.

The fertilizer costs approximately $15 per bag from garden centers, Agway, feed stores, etc. Talk to the salespeople about how to apply the fertilizer correctly, so as not to damage the trees.
You may be able to share the costs and labor with your hunting partners.  Approached in the right spirit, the work of planning and fertilizing can be a lot of fun.  You even can combine it with scouting your property, or with an antler shed-hunting expedition.

In my experience, the best time to fertilize is in mid-March to early-April, right before a soaking rain--just before Spring green-up.  Never fertilize during the hot Summer months--fertilizer applied then could damage the trees for years to come.   

If you're into deer hunting for the long haul, fertilizing--done right--is a great practice.  A couple of years of it will create a deer Garden-of-Eden.  You should take maximum advantage of the deer-drawing effect while the fruits and nuts are dropping.  Once the trees have finished for the season, the deer will move on to find another food source.

Share the tradition.  Take a youngster hunting or fishing!

About The Author

I’ve been in the business of filming hunts for 24 years now. I have hundreds of hours of...

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